Fernandez-CastaƱo closes on compatriot Garcia

12/04/2013 15:35:13
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano  (Getty Images)
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Getty Images)
Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño made light of tricky conditions to move within one shot of the lead as the second round of the 77th Masters Tournament got under way at Augusta National.

Overnight rain and a swirling breeze looked set to make life difficult for the early starters, not to mention some tough pin positions perhaps designed to protect the course after 33 of the 93-strong field broke par yesterday.

But after a perfect drive down the opening hole - a 445 yard par four ranked the toughest on the course - and an approach to 30 feet, Fernandez-Castaño rolled in the putt to match the birdie of playing partner Paul Lawrie, who had chipped in from short of the green.

At five under par, Fernandez-Castaño was one off the lead shared by compatriot Sergio Garcia and Australian Marc Leishman, with Garcia due to begin his second round at 9:39am local time.

Lawrie's birdie took him to three over par after a 76 yesterday, one better than the third member of the group, Denmark's Thomas Björn, who three-putted for a bogey five.

The cut has been extended this year from the top 44 and ties to the top 50, plus any player within ten shots of the leader.

Former champion Trevor Immelman, who has been plagued by illness and injury since his victory in 2008, opened with a par to remain four under.

Fernandez-Castaño was unable to birdie the par five second and then bogeyed the short par four third to drop back to four under, but Immelman had birdied the second to move into joint third on five under.

The weather forecast was now predicting a band of rain between 10-10:30am local time, with the rain lasting around half an hour but just a slight chance of a thunderstorm.

Meanwhile, Chinese schoolboy Guan Tian-lang, at 14 the youngest competitor in Masters history, had got up and down at the first to save par and remain one over.

Asked if he could win the event after his opening 73, Guan said: "I think probably not this year, but I think I can win it in the future. I want to win a Major and hopefully I can win the four Majors in one year."